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As Education Week marks its 20th anniversary, here are some of the people, events, and issues that were making news 20 years ago this week.

Urban Alliances: Public school superintendents and university presidents in Cincinnati, Detroit, and Milwaukee agree to work together to revive education in their cities and establish formal alliances between themselves, business leaders, and local governments.

Vocational Training: Despite long-held reservations among black educators about vocational education, black students should be encouraged to enroll in such programs, members of the National Association for the Advancement of Black Americans in Vocational Education say. Such training is viewed as a solution to growing unemployment among black youths.

Federal Role: Despite its intention to dismantle the U.S. Department of Education, the Reagan administration seems to be having a hard time reaching a decision about the federal role in education. Secretary of Education Terrell Bell, meanwhile, is working to build support for "radical change from the status quo."

Defending Busing: U.S. District Judge James B. McMillan, who in 1970 issued the first federal court order requiring that schoolchildren be bused to integrate schools, says in an interview with Education Week that he is annoyed by the argument made by the Reagan administration and some members of Congress that busing for desegregation has been a failure. The North Carolina judge's ruling was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1971 Swann v. Charlotte- Mecklenburg case.

Teacher Absenteeism: Teachers who don't show up at school are costing school districts an estimated $5 billion a year, a consultant on the subject says. Experts generally agree that absenteeism rates have been rising, a fact they attribute to the increased pressures on teachers, especially those in urban schools.

Support for Schools: A national poll conducted for the conservative Free Congress Research and Education Foundation finds that Americans would rather see social service and defense spending cut than education programs. The poll was conducted two weeks after President Reagan called for 12 percent cuts in federal spending.

Vol. 21, Issue 14, Page 6

Published in Print: December 5, 2001, as Retrospective
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